[Taxacom] Biodiversity websites

Dr. David Campbell amblema at bama.ua.edu
Mon Jul 6 10:57:18 CDT 2009

> > There now seem to be hundreds of so-called 'biodiversity' sites
> that list names and not much else, and are practically worthless
> (unless you want to make another list...). Some have additional
> information for a few taxa, sometimes even maps, but often of a very
> low standard.

In addition to being unhelpful, they serve as repositories amassing 
whatever errors may be present in the sources.  Conversely, assigning 
the task of compiling a database from, e.g., a museum collection log, 
to the cheapest available help (not counting eager and interested 
volunteers) makes it likely that numerous errors will be introduced 
into the source data. (This is not new to digital compilations-there 
are complaints about this in corresponence of senior curators from 
years ago; the only thing new is the ease and speed of spreading errors 

I'm trying to track down the original data for a few "type" lots 
(probably most are syntypes or topotypes from large original lots) in 
the museum here.  Google searches on the names typically yield a 
handful of mere lists of names, generally not reflecting any modern 
(s.l.-past 70 years or so) revision, with no way to find more data.  
Useful hits generally come from either scanned literature or regional 
taxonomic databases on particular taxa.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections Building
Department of Biological Sciences
Biodiversity and Systematics
University of Alabama, Box 870345
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0345  USA

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